Skip to main content

What Does Christmas Mean to Me?

After I posted this last night, Dalton and Destinie were already on their way to the hospital for an early Christmas gift!  Baby Mariya Jane Atha was born early this morning in North Carolina!

Christmas traditions in Brazil look a little like home when you go to the big city malls.  You may see some blinking lights hanging on a porch.  Most cities have some sort of decorations.  Churches have presentations and maybe even some parties.  But overall it's just not the same.  Even after 20+ years of living overseas, my longings for all the things that make up a good old traditional American Christmas are strong if not visibly muted.

This year at a new mall in the big city
We decorate a "real" fake Christmas tree.  And yes, it came over in a container from the USA quite a few years ago.  It's slap full of decorations that mostly came from America with some handmade things, some things from Brazil and even one thing from Niger!  I put out my nativities and some angels.  My tree lights come on every night and stay on all night long on Christmas eve.


I play Christmas music every day of December.  You won't find a Christmas radio channel around here, although this year I did find an online mix of "Brazilian" holiday music.  Most of the songs are sung in English!  I miss going to big Christmas cantata presentations.

I always make Christmas cookies and even get some of my English students to come over to help and learn.  I cook traditional dishes and we usually get together with other American expat missionaries in our area to share a holiday meal.  But the smells of Christmas aren't there with that fake tree and our always open and windy house.

We try not to go overboard on the gifts since most of our children's friends may not even get anything on Christmas.  It's not because they are all poverty stricken it's just not a part of all families' traditions.  Children's Day is a holiday in October where all kids get a gift.  Some do on Christmas, some don't.  Yes, some just don't because of a lack of money.

So what brings that joy of the season?  It's not the temperature!  December is usually our hottest month of the year with temps always in the upper 90's and sometimes hitting 100 easily. 

Last week on a 100+ day

So what is it?  It's a day to remember the love of God for us.  To consider that first Christmas and be reminded of Christ's great sacrifice for us.  It's a day of family and taking a time to be together with much love.  It's a day to be thankful for the blessings of God during this year.  Even though we can't be close to all of our family, we can show that love with calls, mailed gifts, messages - and plans for those big furlough Christmas reunions!

This year I am very thankful for all of the gifts God has given to my family.  In just a few days our first granddaughter will be born joining our middle son's growing family that already contains the cutest little boy you have ever seen.  And we still rejoice every day for the salvation of this son earlier this fall.  He and his family are in church every Sunday and growing in Christ.

This year we enjoyed a month long visit with our oldest and his steady girl!  It was an incredible time together.  Also this year we've seen our youngest in full time participation in our church work and growing leaps and bounds in his music.

Thank you, God, for all my gifts!

"The only gift I'll ever need is the joy of family
Oh, why? 'Cause that's Christmas to me..."


Popular posts from this blog

What's Next?

That seems to be the question every one asks us these days since we've arrived back in Sobradinho.  What's next?  What are you going to do now?  Where are you going?  A few people ask about how the boys are or things about my grandbabies or parents.  But not too many.  This week three people asked when I could start teaching English to their children again!

So what is next for The Athas in Brazil?  If you were able to attend one of our furlough meetings, hopefully you have some sort of idea.  If not, I'll try to give a brief answer to the big question.

Remember that trip we took all over interior Bahia back in the fall of 2017?  We visited over 200 communities over the course of about two weeks all within a few hours of where we live.  You can back to my post about it and review some of the details here...

Bahia Road Trip

Byron and I plan to begin evangelizing some of the nearest and neediest communities that we visited on our trip.  We came back with evangelism materials.  By…

Pressing On - Marriage on the Mission Field

That's us on our first furlough in 1998.  Byron was 33 and I was 32.  No gray hairs, no flab, two cute little MK's.  We'd been married for about 10 years and on the mission field for 4.  We stayed in Winston-Salem that year at one of the mission houses of Pleasant View Baptist Church.  We stayed for a whole year.  Byron worked some for a friend with a automotive repair shop that year and I stayed at home with William who was almost 4 and baby Dalton who turned two while we were there. We traveled together to visit all of our churches that year and made several big trips to Georgia and Maryland to visit with family.

Our first term of service on the mission field had been rough.   Language school, learning the ropes, figuring out how to deal with colleagues, two new babies, low finances.  Somehow we had made it through together.  We were okay and things were alright.  Now we were first term survivors on our way back.

Byron and I had met in Bible college.  We had some classes t…

Our Graduate

This Friday evening the youngest of our clan will finish up high school and move on to the next stage of his life - summer!  Oh, and then college and what not.

It's been an incredible eighteen years...

Greyson was always a cutie-pie with his blonde hair and blue eyes in a country where that was a rarity.  Word is that when he was around five or six years old on the island camp people would ask to take photos with him and that he would oblige for a small fee.  Cute and knew it?

For the most part he's been a joy, even though he doesn't comb his hair very often and making his bed doesn't come easy.  Perhaps his musical right sided brain could never deal with the structure of making a bed each day?  I'm hoping he'll learn at college!

As the last in the nest, Greyson enjoyed a few years of being an only child.  Byron and I got to take a long awaited road trip around southern Brazil with Greyson in tow.  We made some great memories and enjoy some sweet bonding moments...